Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quick updates....

We're working with

Google Personalised Search

Google's new personalised search now works even if you;re not logged in. I never used personalised search before and found it highly annoying, so I haven't been looking forward to the public one. You don't really have much of a choice to opt-in - you're co-opted in automatically just by using Google (which on principle I really hate). You have to opt-out (repeatedly even) - so there's no respect for your personal wishes.

Here's my big question: if you always got back the same results from the same sites you already know of - what do you need Google for? I'm guessing the impact of this will be low and that it may even be pulled/easier to opt out of than it currently is.

One of the first times we came across personal search issues was shortly after it was launched more broadly sometime last year. A friend of ours in Dublin was doing a demo and discussing SEO with a client of theirs. The client wanted to check where we ranked but we didn't show up anywhere. My friend rang me and they were quite curious - we eventually clicked that they were logged into Google and they were seeing personalised search. And it's been a big problem since then, so I'm wondering how much of a problem will it be going forward.

A couple of people have raised the idea that Google may be doing this to push their own AdWords sales and to be honest, I'm wondering myself.

Initial Verdict: Google may be a very successful search engine - but thats because they were so clever and user focused at the start. Now they're changing quite radically. If open personalised search is the future and in the best interest of the user - then I can only agree with it. But I'm still not so sure....watch this space!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How my network with twitter has expanded....

I signed up to twitter a little over a year ago. So, like most people, this is what I get asked most often by people: what has meant to you and your business? Many people are much more blunt: "How has it affected the bottom line?" I'm not sure I can answer that entirely and it's going to be very different for different people but here's what's happened for me since  February:

Through twitter I got introduced to a whole new group of Limerick based entrepreneurs, technologists, consultants and generally, a good group of business people. James Corbett, Keith Kennedy, Paul, Patrick, John Kennedy - lots others. People I still meet every month and some I even do some work with

From this group we organised Bizcamp Limerick, a truly great and first of its kind event in Limerick. The event was organised by a wider of group of people connected via twitter and/or LOCC. The group included (but not limited to) Stephen Kinsella, Shane McAllister, Mark Cahill, Ger Hartnett, Gabriella Avram, Joe Correia. Apologies if I've forgotten anyone, old age etc! I also met David Hickey from Limerick Self Storage and from that I've been working with the Irish Self Storage Association.

Another member from LOCC and speaker at Bizcamp and someone I've done lots of work with, is top chap Ted Vickey (who had the gym at the White House). Ted writes about Golf fitness and entrepreneurship and things like this. Ted also introduced me to Pauric Logue, who recently setup Wiseloads.com, an online courier and parcel delivery service. Pauric knows everything there is to know about logistics and parcel delivery, and is really working hard to deliver a better service for Irish businesses, especially those trading online.

I also met Sian Maloney, who became a new business partner when I joined her business, Irish Gift website, Giftsandvouchers.ie. We also setup Ireland's first dedicated shopping forum, talkshop.ie. We've also been working on some other projects, like the Irish Self Storage site.

I've also meet a whole new group of business friends - Grainne from Local Discounts, Elaine from Seefin Coaching (who recently setup the first Mallow Open Coffee Club - and from that even more nice people), and Sian from online directory, WhatsWhat.ie.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

LinkedIn adds business profiles

LinkedIn.com has added a new tool - Business Profiles. I've always wondered why they didn't do this sooner but then again, the personal 1-2-1 networking opportunities it provided was always going to be the most important part of it. So it's even more curious as to why they've added it now.

As I've been using it for ages, I was glad to be able to put up Primary Position. As business profile tools go, this is certainly of the best I've ever seen, allowing you to add different locations, employees and lots of details on your business.

Our profile is here: http://www.linkedin.com/companies/primary-position. Or you could just look at the screenshot below :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Falling for the oldest (SEO) trick in the book

I can't believe I just fell for one of the oldest "tricks" of SEO tonight. I arrived in, after a very long drive in the cold rain and I popped in a search phrase, Search Engine Optimisation, and to my immediate surprise, this is what I got:

I'm normally used to seeing completely different results - the usual Irish sites (and my own, hopefully) who normally appear but this seemed like an international list of complete unrecognisables. I immediately went to check that I wasn't searching Google NCR (No Country Recognition) or USA or CO.ZA but I was at the right place. I'd searched for "Search Enigne Optimisation" by mistake, instead of "Search Engine Optimisation".

This has to be one of the most overlooked yet easiest to implement opportunities for Webmasters and its one of the oldest tricks. Don't expect your target search market will never make mistakes - in fact, plan for them. The number of sites in the index for "enigne" instead of "engine" is only 12,600 - but in the correctly spelled version, there are 38 million results - much easier to rank for!

People make this mistake with everyday words all the time - apartments (aparments), Christmas, accommodation (acommodaiton etc), travel destinations (Porto for example) - so make sure you have both bases covered, don't rely on Google to auto-correct.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Endeavour Programme in Tralee

I got an e-mail from John Dineen, CEO of Learnpipe.com - Ireland's (and the worlds) leading training course search engine, about the Endeavour Programme. From his own blog, I am copying this so you can read all about it

Back in September, I was listening to Matt Cooper's Last Word drive time radio show when I heard an interview with Jerry Kennelly (founder of Stockbyte) on the launch of a new entrepreneurship programme in Tralee, Co. Kerry called Endeavour.

The interview caught my attention - it seemed as if the Endeavour Team were trying to build something special - almost like an Irish Y Combinator / TechStars. The programme offers seed capital (CORD) combined with intensive mentorship - all designed to hatch new companies / take others to the next stage - very, very quickly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wiseloads - Online Courier and Parcel Delivery

Thanks to top chap Ted Vickey, Golf Fitness Writer and commentator, I was introduced to Pauric Logue, the man behind Wiseloads.com, Ireland's new online courier website. Pauric is setting up some interesting new solutions for companies that need cost effective parcel delivery etc.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SEO Dublin

Given the amount of travelling I'm doing to Dublin and the time I'm spending there, I hope to announce a new SEO Dublin office address there shortly. I like Dublin and I used to live there but I'm settled in Limerick with our family here and in Kerry, so I'll have to continue splitting my time until then.

I've been offered a nice desk near St James' Gate and I'll update everything next week when I get a chance!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bootstrap funding for Irish Technology Companies

This slide show demonstrates a model for bootstrapping a Technology/HPSU company in Ireland - as long as you meet the necessary Enterprise Ireland requirements. A Blog-On from which says:

Outvesting was largely inspired by the IQ Prize and the conversation around two blog posts, by Pat Phelanand Joe Drumgoole. While lots of figures were bandied about throughout the discussions the sum of €5,000 kept coming up as a baseline figure that a bootstrapping startup could do something useful with. It’s also the amount of funding received by Level 1 awardees at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

SEO in Killarney | What does Google turn up on you?

I've spent the weekend in Kerry and we spent a night in Killarney. I love Killarney and would love to live there. I'm not sure how lively the SEO scene is there but I'd love to be able to work there and spend more time there.

While we were thinking about hotels, I noticed two interesting issues with one hotel site. When I got back to Limerick, I went to twitter to ask people if they ever check their own site, company name, brand name etc on Google. I didn't mean a Google Alert, which is obviously a good thing and was pleased to see that most people were actively using it.

What I meant was - in the first page of 10 results, how much of the returned results was about you and how much of it was good?

Google is a search engine. Most companies want top listings in Google. That's what SEO is about and that's the business I'm working in. So if you've spent months and months working on an SEO campagin, whats the point of having possibly negative or confusing results display below you?

Here's an example from the Brehon Hotel in Killarney:

There are two domains here. Its hard to guess which is the hotel and which isn't. Both sites will allow you to legitimately make a booking. One of them will cost the hotel more (the one they don't own) and the other may net you a better deal as you can talk directly to the hotel. You're possibly thinking that either way the hotel will make a sale, so whats the problem? Then why did the hotel bother setup a site then? Most hoteliers prefer to make the sale directly - its cheaper for them and they get to start a relationship in some cases.

Some research/opinion I've read from an Irish SEO who analysed click-throughs from another search engine (not Google) showed that on average 54% of clicks went on result number one - so why start your SEO programme by losing up to 46% of visitors by just not dominating your own search results?

The second thing I noticed is that even though they have a website - the Brehon don't list their telephone details, except on the contact us page, and not on every other page. I was using my iPhone and in North Kerry, the reception can be dire. As a result we ended up booking somewhere else.

Given that many people, especially those new to the web, now enter the domain name or part of a domain name into Google rather than try to remember and type in the address into the address bar, can you really afford to have confusion for your own site/brand/url in the returned results? Or do you just assume that people will work hard to find you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Techludd and MIcrosoft Website Spark Launch

Last week I made it to the TechLudd Relaunch/Microsoft WebsiteSpark progamme launch. Organised by Anton Mannering (TechLudd). WebsiteSpark (part of the Bizspark programme). WebsiteSpark is for small companies developing web apps at the coalface in ASP and, surprisingly also PHP. It's great that Microsoft recognises and embrace developers who develop on PHP too - and are offering support to them to help building web applications and systems on the stronger and richer enterprise environment offered by Visual Studio Professional editions.

Microsoft is demonstrating its commitment to small Irish IT companies. The costs of enterprise development software and web server applications can very high. The new WebSiteSpark programme offers support as well as 3 years free licences of Visual Studio Professional Expression 3.0, and Microsoft Web Server 2008 as well as the stunningly powerful SQL server 2008 Web Edition. These licenses can be very expensive on their own. Their is a US$100 fee when the company exits the programme (optionally or after 3 years) - which frankly really is peanuts for the 3 years development usage afforded under the programme. But you can read more about it yourself.

The launch was a brilliant event and I got to meet some great people from Microsoft, as well as the iia and Anton himself. Plenty of Guinness (it was held at the Guinness Storehouse) and lovely finger food abound.

I also got to meet Ruairi Browne, of Galway website development company, Kro IT, who also provide custom software. Ruairi has signed up to the programme and I look forward to meeting him Galway soon.

I stayed at the Jurys Inn, which was very handy being in town but quite dear for parking and breakfast and booked it via Dublin Hotels.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wimax - Google It - from Imagine

It's interesting to see Imagine's new billboard ads for "WiMax", in which consumers are invited to Google "Wimax" to learn more, rather than giving a URL, as is the way in probably 99.99% of cases. This makes sense from the point of view that most newbies (to the web) don't even know what an address bar or address URL is - and use Google search to find sites they already know of.

WiMax is a huge term and Imagine don't rank it for organically. Instead, Wikipedia, Intel and Wimax.com are listed on the home page, so ranking for it is quite hard. So Imagine are using an AdWords campaign to make sure they come up. I find this understandable but its given me something to think about.

It's an interesting phenomenon. Some of clients even have to use AdWords with their own brandname to prevent competitors from outbidding them with their domain name. Google AdWords has this this facility, which I find a bit odd, whereby I can advertise one URL but visitors are sent to an entirely different name.

For example, I could have an ad that lists the URL as "imagine.ie/wimax" but users are actually forwarded to, say, "eircom.net". This is obviously hugely devious and underhanded but for whatever reason, Google not only allows it, it also allows you to remove your competitors listing by using their domain publicly and your domain as the real destination - as long as you're willing to pay more for it.

You would think Imagine would try to rank for it, even from "Pages from Ireland" but clearly paying for each visit they plan to get via their national advertising campaign seems more logical, for some reason....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Microsoft Website Spark Launch with TechLudd - 20 October 2010

Event Date: 20th October 2010
Where: 7 PM at The Guinness Store House, Dublin

Techludd have announced they are relaunching their website and will co-ordinate the launch with the announcement of the Microsoft WebsiteSpark programme, which will also coincide with the anniversary of the BizSpark Programme.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tidi Signs up with Gifts And Vouchers

I'm really delighted to see long time client of mine, Tidi (web: tidi.ie) have signed up with gifts and vouchers site, Giftsandvouchers.ie.

Tidi, based in Shannon, Ireland, have been a great client over the years, and are a new Irish company that have already made massive strides into the Irish retail sector. Their state of the art product design and development studio is giving birth to lots of new and innovative products.

By signing up with GifsAndVouchers.ie, they instantly added an online e-commerce presence in just an hour. To have their new online store with us is really cool but it's doubly great as the first product, the non-slip hanger, sold 7 units in the first day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Google Experts

June and July have been very busy. Nearly 35 companies have come to us to talk about Search Engine Optimisation and growing an online business. Its been great - this is what I love to do. I've had so many ideas, so many talks and so many meetings. This post is about so-called Google Experts, who they are and how to identify them

Its good to see the Irish SEO community, particularly those at the top, start talking a bit more. And I've been very chuffed to see that I've been recommended a lot over at the Irish Webmaster Forum and Boards.ie.

And so I haven't been able to get to my blog - and this isn't going to be my future blog going forward, as I've embarked on a number ambitious new web projects. Because I trade online - i.e. I have my own websites that are selling to consumers - I have real experience in what makes a web business over what makes a website. Anyone today can stick a website together, and as such - many people are putting together websites thinking that they now have a web business.

So my mission on the blog, my next SEO blog and on the boards and forums, is to bring home the message that a web business is a business and it requires marketing, and promotion, and development. Just because it's on the web doesn't mean it will bring you business.

Secondly, I've been very busy trying to educate people as to so called "Google Experts". They come in the form of online marketing specialits, the self-conceived and self-appointed "Google Retail Partners" (complete nonsense) and other online web design companies who feel they now need to sell SEO but don't fully understand the bigger SEO picture.

So this is my plan over the next few months:

Learn how to build an online business

1. I'm going to conceive, plan and run a new web business from scratch
2. I will use Google - AdWords (Pay-Per-Click) and Google Organic rankings (through my SEO Google Expertise)
3. Affiliate marketing
4. A brand new design
5. Brand new domain names

I will highlight the following key points:

1. Budget
2. Timescales
3. Promotion
4. Identifying and selecting your Partners
5. Getting the name out there
6. Designing the site
7. Developing the site
8. Managing and promoting it all the way through to making money.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Primary Position awarded learnpipe SEO Contract

David Quaid, lead consultant with Primary Position SEO, is delighted to announce that they have been awarded a 12-month SEO Contract with leading Training Course Search Engine, learnpipe.

learnpipe, headquartered in Cork, Ireland, is an international search engine for training courses announced the contract on the learnpipe Blog.

Quoted from their blog:
"To help us improve our SEO strategy and execution, we've teamed up with David Quaid and the team at Primary Position David has a proven track record in helping companies to improve their on and off site seo. We've made a great start and are looking forward to working closely with him over the course of the year."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Savenet Solutions selects Primary Position as SEO Partner

We're delighted to be working with Savenet Solutions, one of Ireland's fastest growing online backup companies. Savenet provide a number of key data solutions:

You can contact them at

Savenet Solutions
3013 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Park
Dublin 24, Ireland

Ph: 01 5143010
Fax: 01 5143030

Friday, May 29, 2009

The end of the road for single domain name strategies

For a long time many companies have focused on a single domain name for their business. Typically this has taken the form of their brand name. This is fine if you are an established well known brand like Rolex, Mercedes, Coca-Cola or Walkers.

But for the guys that are offering a competing product, they don't have the same brand appreciation as the bigger brands. And for the most part, they are targeting consumers and businesses based on cost. There are many smaller companies operating on differentiating themselves through better value, better quality and better supply/availability. But they're not actually winning through branding. And this is a key failure for most businesses to recognise.

If you are targeting a marketplace based on selling commodity or in demand product on cost - you are not selling a brand. Yes, you can create brand awareness but you're targeting people interested in price, not a brand.

Most companies who pick their Brand name or company name as their domain name are therefore carrying the same mistaken idea into their online marketing campaign. Firstly, people don't come to your website automatically. They come for a reason. The world's premier TV and electronics producers bring people to their websites through massive advertising programmes.

People who are selling discounted electronics products bring people who are looking for discounted electronic equipment and/or discounted electronic brands. Putting your own brand up gets in the way. If you want to sell products that compete with brands, then use domain names that match what people are looking for. Don't be afraid to use more than one domain.

The strategy for small, price-competitive brands
to use brand names in SEO marketing really
has reached the end of the track

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some advice about selecting an SEO....

Ok, this might sound a bit funny - an SEO telling you how to pick an SEO but I know my fair share about SEO and how it works, and I've been doing it for a long time (since 2001), so I'm bound to have an opinion or two! Here is how I evaluate an SEO company or service when I come across one:

1. What do they have they say about SEO? Is it just a few pages of content on SEO? Maybe it's just a single page on a website offering a range of services. SEO is quite a broad and in-depth subject, so having a content-thin site sets off some alarm bells.

2. Do they have a PageRank - PageRank can be a funny thing but if it's zero, it could be of concern - an SEO should have at least some PageRank (0-10, 10 being best)

3. I check to see if they rank - can they be found - for their town/city and county? Do they rank nationally? I check a number of search terms - SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, SEO Dublin, SEO Ireland, SEO Limerick etc

4. What is their portfolio like? When I visit their clients, do their clients rank? Do they rank well?

5. I get very concerned when I see on-site pricing models. SEO is about competition - "property" or "Pensions" as search phrases are highly competitive. Giving different pricing levels without first evaluating a site seems pretty impossible and optimistic to me at best.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2009 is shaping up to be very busy

Not that I'm complaining but I'm getting so many referrals and calls, its been a lot to deal with...so I've been busy working on proposals and enquiries. Which has given me a lot less time to catch up on twitter, the blog and the beautiful weather that we should be experiencing in Ireland. At least I presume it's lovely outside.

It still surprises me that so many people don't think SEO is an involved manageable proposal. A lot of people I talk to still think SEO is something thats done quickly. In fairness, a good few understand that it's an online business development programme.

A worryingly large number of people still believe heavily in off-site SEO. I think that people are picking up a lot of this from the many websites and web design companies that offer their understanding of SEO. Most of these sites and web designers don't actually rank anywhere, so its very surprising that people are so ready to believe!

Anyway, we are delighted to be announcing that we will be working with the widely acclaimed Landscape Contractors, Castleknock Garden Services, who provide a range of garden design and maintenance services as well as paving, lawncare, wooden and timber furniture and extensions (think decks, patios and tables).

We're also delighted to be continuing our work with leading high performance and leadership development company, PeopleResources.ie.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Organ Donor Week

This week is Organ Donor Awareness week. I was reminded of this very important week and the life-saving contributions that families and people make becoming Organ Donor's by Sian from www.GiftsandVouchers.ie - the Irish Gifts website - through reading her very brave and touching story that she's shared on her gifts and vouchers blog.

So, I'll take this opportunity to encourage everyone to register as a donor and get a donor card.

Source: http://blog.giftsandvouchers.ie/

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bizcamp Limerick

Bizcamp Limerick was an outstanding success by all accounts. Many thanks to the people who attended, talked and organised the event, which was held at the fantastic Kemmy Business School, which is a brilliant, world-class facility of higher education.

First of all, a big thank you to the Dean of the Kemmy Business School, Prof. Donal Dineen. It was a great space and very apt to have the Bizcamp here. The next big thanks and congratulations go to Stephen Kinsella, Evert Bopp, Ger Hartnett, Shane McAllister, Gabriela Avram and Mark Cahill. Also all members of Limerick Open Coffee Club who got together after the fall out from Dell and other large scale redundancy notices.

With nearly 200 people attending, a wave of media coverage and much buzz, it was a fantastic day altogether. Thank you to everyone again!

I gave a talk on SEO and how it works. I'll post up the presentation when I get back from Milan. Thanks to everyone who sat in, asked questions and the plenty of positive feedback I got.

I also met a lot of twitter buddies. Twitter is working out fantastically - it's how I got involved in Bizcamp in the first place. I've also found an exciting new business to invest in - but more about that in April.

Was delighted to meet great minds like Anton Mannering, Tony Frattaroli, Chris Byrne, Joy Redmond, Derry O' Donnell and many others I've already forgotten. Mail me if I met you and forgot you!

Reacations from the blogsphere: ShaneyMac's photo series on Pix.ie, Bizcamp Limerick, Limerick Blogger's coverage, Mark Cahill, Anton Mannering, Mike Quilligan, Reva Health.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quick Post: Curious FBD ad

For some reason, FBD Insurance have this ad, which I spotted on the Limerick Leader website. I found this quite curious. They're trying to advertise a fast motor insurance quotation service - which hardly sounds unique given that this has been around for years but, anyway, they've used a speedometer clearly racing up and down to the maximum possible speed (120) in Ireland to demonstrate this. This sends a worrying unclear message given the change in attitude to driving fast. Also, driving at 120km/h is only possible on a handful of motorways in Dublin.

Also, even more curious, is that FBD refused me a quotation on my safety-loaded SAAB because it's a HPV. Since when is the size of a car's engine a basis for safety? My car has 6 breaks on 4-discs with ultra-wide tyres. Keeping within the legal and safe speed limits this gives me a huge advantage over smaller cars with cheaper to replace narrow tyres and inferior drum and disk shoe breaking setups.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Push & other announcements

Tuesday's push is for MyMunster.com, a networking site for Munster Rugby Supporters. Tuesday Push is a coordinated spread of an idea launched by Damien Mulley.

Adrian Wreckler thinks that Irish Tech companies should get Government Aid. I don't agree fully. While I do think SFI is a bloated money black-hole, I think there Seed Capital is missing in Ireland. A lot of people seem to think European companies are over-government reliant - and while I do agree, I think they're forgetting that the US Government was extremely interventionist until the private sector took over. The US Government established the Small Business Investment Fund in 1958 as a precursor to VC. The EU followed suit in 1994. Private sector VC took off in the US in the 1970's. However, Seed capital funding is far easier to get in Europe and the US than it is in say, Limerick or Cork Or Tipperary or Dublin. I think the Government has a big role to play, particularly in the recovery in 2009. Have your say here.

Bizcamp Limerick, the business startup site for Limerick, now has 123 sign-ups! The Bizcamp is taking place on the 21st March this year and looks like it will be a cracking event. The RTE news video on the Dublin Bizcamp, which was an outstanding success is also on the site. Well done to the organisers of both!

We've been appointed SEO providers to Munster Energy Solutions with their new website, www.mes.ie. Munster Energy Solutions are BER Assessors in Limerick, Cork and Kerry. They are also able to assess commercial buildings, which not all BER Assessors are certified to. All new houses/apartments sold in 2009 will need a BER Certificate as will any existing house or apartment let in or after 2009.

World Vision Ireland announce a new blog for their mini-marathon fund-raiser. Best of luck!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

While the EU, US and UK cut rates, taxes...

...we're too busy finding new ones or raising old ones. Raising new taxes, existing ones and VAT will dry up the spare money we have, contribute towards deflation (which sounds good but really, really isn't) will result in more domestic companies closing - particularly consumer related like food, retail, property and so on...Yet nothing is being done about economic stimulation. Training will not help. New jobs are not being created. We have too many solicitors, accountants, architects, IT professionals, teachers. And these are quite well educated people.

Actually the government has just confirmed my worst fear: apparently SME's can't help themselves - we need the councils to help (although they already have Enterprise Support): http://www.rte.ie/business/2009/0305/sfa.html. What a dire waste this will be.

Limerick Open Coffee Club was a great success. I met Tony Frattaroli, the Limerick Entrepreneur who went on to the Dragon's Den and shared the behind the scenes experiences of the grueling 1hr30's he spent discussing his ideas with the Dragon's as well some other insights we as an audience don't get to see. Tony is a dynamic, determined and self-motivated person - a perfect entrepeneur - just the type we need to be encouraging more of in Ireland.

We were appointed SEO to www.PolskiQuote.ie, which has a fluent Polish brokerage team (Ubezpieczenie samochodu).

We're also doing the SEO for accomplished beauty clinic, www.Akina.ie, who provide a range of treatments include skincare treaments, laser treatment and beauty treatments among others!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rocketjobs announces Primary Position as SEO Partner

RocketJobs.ie, Irelands newest jobs website, has awarded us the contract for providing Search Engine Optimisation for it's website. Derek Hardiman, founder and CEO or RocketJobs made the announcement today in Dublin after choosing from a number of very strong proposals and we're delighted to have been selected.

We put together a very comprehensive programme and proposal, which began about 3 weeks ago, to increase the visibility and traffic to the RocketJobs site and we're looking forward to seeing this site more frequently at the top of the job search listings in Ireland.

RocketJobs announced the partnership on their blog and you can read the full release at http://blog.rocketjobs.ie/2009/02/27/rocketjobsie-selects-primary-position-as-seo-partner/.

About RocketJobs.ie
RocketJobs.ie is an industry wide jobs site focussed on making the search and application process as easy and as quick as possible for job seekers. With a number of the major agencies already on board RocketJobs.ie is poised to increase the number of roles on the site significantly in the coming weeks. With a continuous attention to improving the user experience of the site RocketJobs.ie has recently released the first Twitter job search capability in the Irish market, with more social networknig features to follow in the short term.

More information is available on our site and our blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Web Wrap-up

AIB and BOI are each to get €3.5 billion each in re-capitalisation. Please call them if you need to be recapitalised

ICTU have a plan - we'll all just find new jobs after we get skills. Somehow they missed where those jobs will come from...absolutely no reference to job creation. Apart from Government hires of course.

Lots of posts for yesterday's Tuesday Push (which I missed) which was for Sxoop Technologies' Twitter Mosaic Tool, which is pretty cool!

Niall Harbison has rebranded iFoods.tv as LookandTaste.com. Congratulations and best of luck!

Save money on your bills - shop for alternative Broadband, digital TV, Insurance and Travel with uChoose.ie

Looking for Corporate booking and hotel search? Try MustBook.ie.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Reacting to the Recession- VC for Limerick (& Others)

The Limerick Open Coffee Club is meeting tomorrow at 11:00am in the Absolute Hotel. All welcome. I've been getting some great support and feedback and even a few offers for the Bizcamp and the Incubator, now christened "Greenhouse Limerick" by it's founder, Evert Bopp.

After reading Nev Farell's thought provoking post, I've been thinking. I'm sure the government will get a programme up in Limerick - sometime. To the best of my knowledge, they did an ok job with developing Galway and tech development there, based on larger grants and % claimable, and larger tax benefits on BES (I could be wrong), under the BMW Invesment incentives.

But these incentives were dished out, albeit in higher quantities, through the usual agencies. And these agencies have their hands tied in terms of what they'll support. Even if you meet the somewhat questionable requirements (why emply 15 people over 3 years, whats wrong with 12 per sè?)

Some of the worst ideas

The Tax incentives for building hotels - this was a disaster of an incentive. According to one publication on www.taxwatch.ie, prepared by John Heffernan, shows that "room occupancy levels across all regions were 5% below the 2000 levels in 2004" yet the government ploughed ahead.

This was despite a 2005 report by Indecon, prepared for the Deparment of Finance, shows that" €664m capital expenditure was actually incurred on tax based hotel projects with a further €651m to €1302m likely to be incurred on future projects".

Why couldn't the government put this into developing small business in Ireland? We've known for years the high exposure we've had to foreign multinationals (not they haven't had a great positive influence, we've just been a little over dependent) and to manufacturing industries. How is Ireland supposed to develop it's own? Irish people don't invest in ideas. As one colleague said to me today, about Irish Innovation: "If someone else isn't doing, then we definitely won't". People who do have ideas have nowhere to go, and this is particularly true with the onset of the Credit Crunch.

Even a special localised VC fund of just €50 million would do wonders in Limerick. We could start a multitude of smart, innovative companies. Most companies stray from their original ideas but the original idea gets them started or creates the right set of questions and answers to get it started. We can't reproduce great idea generating in a scientific method but we can grow them by supporting innovative thinkers, sponsoring incubation centres, facilitating networking and providing funding.

Enterprise Ireland

Sadly I've heard more bad stories than good but I've also seen quite a few companies become successful thanks to aid. Unfortunately too few. They have strict, rigid meeting and education systems instead of open networking events. It's too much like school, it's too inhibitive.

The solution

We need to throw out our tax incentives and start looking inward. We had €70 billion in 2008 in the National Pension Reserve Fund. If we hit 10% or 20% unemployment, whats the point of having a massive retirement fund. Dublin has lots and lots of VC. No wonder the government cannot decentralise. Why can't we put €8 billion into Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Ennis and Sligo, in proportionate amounts, into BUSINESSES, not into hotels, property, roads.

The government and civil servants will not and cannot solve innovation, invention and enterprise growth. Private sector businesses can and need this funding. This funding would create a safe haven for banks to invest in and for the agencies to deliver grants and other inestments. €1 billion invested in Limerick and Cork, say, could help create up to 2,000 companies with 5 employees. That would remove 10,000 people from the dole.

Incubation centres, according to Wikipedia [?], have an 87% success rate even after 5 years. If just 50% of these were successful, and just 1% became big enough to employ more than 500 people, it would be a roaring success. Plus they'd have a base in Ireland, not North America where they currently have to go.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The top things that twitter Social Media Experts DONT tell YOU

They're everywhere on twitter. Easy to spot and fit into the same profile. They are twitters self-acclaimed "Social Media Experts" (also: Ninja, Gurus). Niall Harbison and others have posted about them - they're a modern day plague.

If you've been on twitter for longer than a week, then chances are you already know them! The bio's with big cheesy smiles, often American, self proclaiming their Social Media/Marketing expertise based on the 10,000 followers and a blog containing 10-, 15- or 25 top tips to market on twitter. Nuggets of information like "Top 10 Tools used by Top Twitter Marketeers".

All of them proffer advice about marketing but it's always twitter-related. Twitter DVD's about "Traffic Explosion 2" and "How to get 45,000 followers while eating a small sandwhich." etc.

Well they aren't experts - they may be taking advantage of a very open and friendly social media tool - and the people who use them -but they are not top marketeers. There is nothing wrong with mixing business and social media if it's done right. But you don't go around to your freinds house and repeat every 2 mins "I can make you rich. Log on to my blog right NOW to find out how!". It's ridiculous, shameless self-promoting at it's worst.

Time to shed some light on them with my
Top Things Social Media Experts DON'T tell YOU!

  1. They claim to be online marketing experts. They have a blog about it. Truth: Funny how their blog often has no PageRank or a low PageRank (i.e. Google doesn't think much about it) and their only visitors come from twitter. That's not online marketing! Real Online marketeers, whether using social media or SEO have been at it for longer than 2 months and have some PageRank. It's a good test for anyone.
  2. They back up their claims with the 4,000 followers they "gained" while putting on their socks this morning. Truth: They may be following your tweets (for a while anyway) but they're not hanging on your every word! The reality is that when you follow someone, they follow you back, it's polite. It's not because you're a genius. Having followers on Twitter doesn't make you a leader.
  3. Twitter is broadcast channel and they are the News Desk. Repeating the same message daily about sharing Aloha or how they got $4,000 in one hour (and you can too!). Truth: After getting bored, most people stop following and ignore them. Twitter and tweeters don't need this and if most of your followers are selling the same thing, how are you going to sell to them.
  4. Twitter is great for marketing. And you need them to tell you how! Truth: Twitter is great for marketing if people recognise you as a leader in what you do and recommend you or write about you. If people just promote you or link to you because they want to get promoted, you end up with a meaningless list of sheep. Just share your thoughts, news and information and -if it's good - people will follow you automatically.
  5. They're getting thousands of visitors while just sipping on a soda. They clearly have the magic formula and you need to buy the ebook before it sells out. Truth: They have lists of followers as long as highway BUT - here's where it falls down - 90% of them are selling the same message.
Americans are great at standing up with a smile and trying to motivate, sell and market to anyone who'll listen. And Americans are great at sitting there and paying money to be sold motivational, selling and marekting advice. That's great - in Vegas. Not so great on twitter for the people who love to use it.

Twitter - what is all about?

I'm relatively new to twitter but already I love it. I've gotten to meet a great bunch of people, including the Limerick Open Coffee Club and the inspiring #Bizcamp Limerick Business Startup Project. I've also caught up with people I used to know and work with (pre-twitter).

twitter is a great tool. You pick up on news very quickly. People share ideas, knowledge and information that you'd otherwise never be able to pickup on. I always thought the News on TV and newspapers never went into enough satisfying detail. I don't just want to know what happened to the bank, I want to know why, how and who was behind it - and thanks to all of the financial gurus, technical whizz-kids and general bloggers out there I can get a whole better understanding.

twitter has some great networking opportunities. Meet like minded and smarter people at tweet-ups, barcamps, bizcamps etc. People end up collaborating together or even get hired for a particular project or event. All very good. But this great tool is under massive abuse from the so called "Social Media Expert". These people are very easy to spot and my next post will go into further detail

Sunday, January 25, 2009

#BizCamp Limerick, Incubation Space and other ideas

 #BizCamp is being run in with Stephen Kinsella and other good people at the University of Limerick. I had a tour of the Kemmy Business School on Friday, and it's a very impressive place. Read more at Stephen's blog.

Other quick items: Italian Tailored Suits in Ireland - found this nice online tailoured suit webstore -TailoredToSuit. I like TheJackanory blog - something unique and very readable. Also nominated for the '09 Blog Awards.

Karina has launched 1-2-1 Business Networking , which has announced First Wednesday, a meetup every first wednesday in the Mint Bar in Dublin.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blogs need promoting too!

I've been reading quite a lot of new blogs this past week. I've also been convincing a number of people to setup their own blogs. I spent Thursday and Friday in Dublin meeting a number of clients and I'm delighted that they are all going to start blogging!

These blogs will give them a better way to connect with their clients. Websites can be a little cold, too much of a shop window. But websites need search engine optimisation (seo) too! Blogs have great avenues for SEO and I was very pleased to see this blog get a PageRank of 3/10 from Google in just 4 weeks. Not that I'm overly bothered with Toolbar PR! (Read about Toolbar PageRank)

The traditional way to promote blogs is from having other people recommend you - through blog aggregators, blog rolls, twitter posts, social media networks and so on. But look at the visitor traffic information for any well read blog and you'll see traffic from Search Engines is one of the biggest traffic providers - but only if you have Search Engine visibility.

Many young or first time bloggers forget this, opting for the "build it, they will come approach". Yes Google loves unique content and every good SEO will repeat this mantra over and over again.

But you cannot stand out on the internet through self validation alone. Unique content without authority/votes from other important, relevant meaninful sites are still needed. Blogs go down very well with Google, but a blog with little or no links won't gain traction. There's too much competition. Google's ranking of sites is still heavily based on its link-voting system.

I'll be setting up a new, personal blog this week (I hope), and I'll use it as a case study about promoting blogs. I know I'm relatively new to blogging but SEO for blogs hasn't changed. In the 6/7 weeks we've set this up, posts from this blog are live in Google in under 5 minutes, and often ranked in the top five for it's post title or tags. We get 50% of our traffic from Google and have over 100 subscribers across different subscription systems.

Must to things to promote your blog? Build a circle of links to your blog, website and social networking sites from your blog, website and social networking. MyBlogLog, a service from Yahoo, is a fantastic "hub" type link spot. Here you can join your blogs, profile and links from social services in one page. So Google can find your other profiles and so can other people. You can also join other communities and make new friends. Take a look at the page I setup for this blog to see what I mean.

Then go over to Technorati and set up your blog there. You'll need to add a widget to your website. It's not that complicated! My Technorati blog page is here. Now, set yourself up with Feedcat. Feedcat gives a great little button so that people can see how many RSS subscribers you have with that service. Other great places to get your blog into are:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Update to Open Coffee

The IGO Network URL is http://www.igopeople.com/g/564-Dell-Limerick for people in Dell Limerick who are interested in setting up or helping others setup their own business.

Geo Targeting in Google

The days of having one domain show for all countries is nearly over. Domains are now, almost always, indexed for a particular country. There is a way to set certain folders on the same domain for different countries, but if you're localising content, why put it on the same domain. Single domain strategies are a failure - that's what happens when you listen to branding experts!

Such a common "strategy" of people is to use their business name/brand name as their domain name. Of course every company should have a matching domain name to their brand but if you're interested in SEO, then it's to reach people which your brand hasn't. So having the brand name in the domain name doesn't help. You can put your brand name on the web page.

For companies with multiple products and multiple locations, then multiple domain SEO is the best strategy. Note to self: follow up on this in more detail

Limerick goes on...

I wasn't too impressed with everyone blaming the government for DELL's closure in Limerick. I'm not entirely sure that DELL are moving to Lodz as much as they are just closing Limerick. There has been a downturn in demand for it's products. So it cut from it's most expensive cost base.

Limerick has become too costly for a number of reasons - land, fuel, shipping, labour costs from suppliers (think contractors, electricians). It's very sad to see it all cut so quickly.

In response to it, Evert Bopp and others are using the Limerick Open Coffee Club to spearhead an initiative to help people in Dell and Limerick who want to take their own ideas to market. The group is made up of professionals and experts in Limerick who meet informally at the Absolut Hotel.

The club meetings are open to everyone and anyone may attend. I attended last weeks meeting, and found it very worthwhile and interesting. I'm sure with more and more members this will only get more interesting. There was a good range of people with business and sales experience, as well as general entrepeneurs who no doubt have many years of wisdom to pass on. I look forward to meeting the other members in time.

For those interested in starting up in Limerick, there are a number of resources you can look to. I'll Publish about this separately.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

DELL closes in Limerick

Just a quick post to say how very sorry I am for all the employees at DELL in Limerick who going to lose their jobs this year and maybe into next year. I'm also very sad to see DELL's plant close in Limerick as I feel it was an important part of Limerick and a great source of local pride. It's also a massive part of the Limerick and Irish economy and I feel too for the many suppliers who will be hurt who don't get as much of a mention, as well as the many retailers and hotels and so on - we'll all be affected by it. I worked at DELL for 2 years, met my fiancè while working there and cut my teeth as a programmer, software engineer and project manager.

Let's not forget at this time the many companies who have weathered many storms in Limerick, much longer than DELL. Analog Devices, just down the road from DELL have been here since the '70's, I'm sure their continued presence will be even more value by Limerick.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Saying goodbye to 2008, lets say goodby to some bad habits

If you build it, they will come. The famous quote from the film, Field of Dreams, became a rally call in the 90's and early noughties in the newly discovered "Web of Dreams". This is easily one of the biggest myths about owning a web business and selling on the web - and it's rampant.

Everyday I meet and talk to people who believe in this so fervantly that they refuse to listen to advice, no matter who gives it or why. They'd rather believe that as I work in SEO, clearly my advice must be biased and aimed at making a sale.This myth is strongly tied to the misbelief that a website is a marketing tool. Fact is, both statements are very wrong, even though 90% of people with little web experience probably believe it.

The worst thing about this myth is watching the slow realisation that dawns on the would-be Internet Business Owner as they watch the visitor stats that never seem to grow. It's painful because you've seen it 100 times and you really want to help.

Compounding this, we refuse to accept that if we're going to enter the web world, that we have to try to understand it. "I'm not technical" has become a standard gym-class excuse note for all manner of people throwing money at websites. Clearly building a web-business is just like having your car serviced - you go to a mechanic, get a price and job done. You don't need to know how your variable valve timing system works, he does. It's his problem.

People believe all too commonly that a website is a cheaper way to open a shop in O'Connell Street. It is a shop. And everyone knows that when you open your shop people come in the door. Can you build an e-Commerce site for €3,000? Certainly. And a very nice one at that. Can you kit out a new store in town for that? No, you certainly can't. Can you set up a serious retail store for less than €25k? Possibly, now that tradesmen aren't as expensive, but I wouldn't say you could do it for much less.

So why do people think they can setup a web-based business and take on Ryanair or Amazon for €2,000? Because they believe that their website is their business, shop and marketing tool rolled into 1. Add to that the next common myth suffered by many businesses and agencies - the Automatic right to Google #1!

That's right - so many companies, agencies, organisations and NGO's believe they have an automatic right to be number 1! That Goolge will just call them up and ask them where they'd like to appear.

New Golden Rule for 2009: If you want to get into business on the web, you've got to be prepared to understand how the web works for business AND how it doesn't. It's not about being "technical" (God I hate that) - its about being responsible to you, your business and your investment.

If you want to try your hand at an internet business, apart from whether or not there is space for your business or it's a good idea, know at least these things:

  1. Chances are if you build it, nobody will come
  2. You don't have an automatic right to be #1 or to be found at all!
  3. You need to go out and promote your website on the internet and off it
  4. You have to compete on the web, maybe even harder than if you had a store
  5. You may have to spend more on marketing it than you spent building it - this is because the startup costs web-store can be cheaper than a real store
  6. At least web marketing can be cheaper than traditional marketing (TV, Print, etc)
  7. You are going to have to write your own, unique, readable, interesting content
  8. You are going to have to connect
  9. You cannot hide behind the excuse of "I'm not technical" - because nobody cares. Understanding the web and social media, networking and marketing are not technical. Programming computers and assembling space rockets - that's technical. This is business.
  10. Forget branding. If People used SE's only to look up brands, we wouldn't need them. SEO is the opposite of brand-based marketing. It's used by people to launch products against the big brands as much as it's used to sell big brand products.
Best of luck to everyone setting up an online business in 2009 - Don't be afraid to ask !!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

SEO is a modern hero for the average Joe - a new theme for 2009

I read recently on an Irish Web blog that "SEO is bull****". I read this a while back and I've been thinking about just how wrong that statement is. SEO and Search Engines together are a modern hero we've never had before. Marketing Agencies are very brand orientated. Brand is everything. Branding is used to build a company. SEO, Social Marketing and Search Engines are about people recommendations - people can vote and promote a product they like not because a marketing agency has told them but because they have discovered it and shared it.

Brands have been a powerful force that shaped our lives from the 1800's. Many people grew up calling their vacuum machine a "Hoover" or their oven a "Stove" irregardless of the manufacturer. These were uber-brands. Companies have used the power of brands to tell us that "Guinness is good for us", Knorr tells us that their products are natural, wholesome and good for you. Cow and Gate currently feature an ad with babies in a happy form and a captions below them making ludicrous statements like "I don't look like I need more nutrition do I?" etc.

Well we don't know, you just look happy. It's a baby. Did the babies in the ad really take Cow And Gate? Are they happy All the time? People really buy into this. Instead of checking to see what really is best, they see the happy baby on TV and want their baby to be happy and healthy.

Why is SEO/SE/SM a hero for modern times? Let's say take Knorr. For years in Ireland they've dominated Soup Stocks. Until a few years ago, you could make your own stock (if you knew how, many people don't) or you had to use the soup stock cubes available in all Irish shops and supermarkets. Because of their huge advertising and marketing budgets, its been very difficult for anyone to get into this market place with a proper product. Like organic stock or superior quality stocks. OK, maybe our market is small and not attractive. But a raft of stock producers have come in. Superquinn in Limerick have been great to offer these rangs and I note Dunnes and Tesco are following suit. This is great for us consumers. The Knorr offering has been sub-par and even Knorr have changed their products suitably, offering improved recipes and now a jellified stock-pot. This would never have happened without competition.

Thanks to Chef's like Niall Harbison (read his video recipes blog), people are learning to become better cooks and to use better products. More people buying fresh organic stock helps fight bad brands who use money to tell us their product is better!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 is here.....Happy New Year Web-people

What will 2009 bring? No doubt the Irish media will continue it's recession news-fest. Is it just me or do RTE seem to present news of the widening financial crisis with glee? They are very sensitive when it comes to job losses up to a point - who wants to be interviewed on national TV just seconds after your job has been taken away?

What will 2009 mean for retail? I suspect quite a few ambitious retail projects will be forced to close down - even in a strong economic climate I think that too many retail outlets opened up, particularly in the home/DIY segment, where Limerick has been very well served - but are there enough shoppers to sustain all of them?

The main challenges facing us in 2009, I think are, in order of most obvious:

  • Reduced house purchases
  • Reduced investment into new business
  • Reduced construction in all sectors
  • More and more businesses folding
Main Drivers for these factors are:

  • Reduced confidence
  • Mass Emigration (Irish people and Migrant labourers) - reducing demand for housing, retail and entertainment
Worst Case scenario for year-end 2009:
  • 20% unemployment
  • 20% drop in population
  • 1980's style dole-que's, etc
Unless we start spending again, en masse and businesses have to pay their bills on time - this is causing massive cash-flow strains for a lot of businesses in Ireland. And it's a knock-on effect that is becoming harder and harder to tolerate for many. I think January and February will set the tone for the year, so hopefully we won't have to wait too long. There is still a lot of money out there - just how will it be invested?